When I was on the hunt for something, anything, to clear up the mystery of my panic attacks and near constant anxiety, what I was actually seeking was wisdom.
Since I didn’t know what I was looking for, it took me a long time to find it. The survival tactics learned during 30 years with agoraphobia were part of my path toward wisdom. I was becoming a wise person in certain ways; I was learning enough to be able to make the right decision and take the right course because of my variety of experiences in a certain area. For example, I tried nearly every kind of therapeutic med until I gained enough wisdom to realize there isn’t a med to cure panic disorder.
I finally used all the wisdom I gained over the years from shrinks and therapists, psychiatric wards, many kinds of medication including alcohol, homelessness and despair, failed jobs and relationships, to understand the big picture regarding my agoraphobia. Of course I knew – every agoraphobe knows – that a panic attack presents no real danger, but fear is a stubborn bitch that won’t let go easily.
What finally led to my passage into freedom was the profound realization that I was my own center, my own safety net, that I was all I needed to rely on for a feeling of safety. I had gained enough wisdom to understand that there was no “place” of safety other than what was in my brain. When I comprehended that “safety” lay within me rather than outside of me, as in my apartment, I achieved a level of wisdom that set me up for my spontaneous trip away from home… away from the prison of agoraphobia.
You are gaining knowledge in your struggle to overcome panic disorder that will eventually make you wise enough to be free forever from your own prison. What you are trying to achieve is the understanding that you are taking your safety zone with you wherever you go. That is knowledge leading to wisdom that will free you.
Here’s an article about knowledge and the transit to pure wisdom by fellow Psychology Today blogger Jeremy Sherman that set me to thinking about my continuing journey. I hope this read is helpful to you as it was to me.